Asklepios (アスクレピオス Asukurepiosu?) is a manga series by Tōru Uchimizu, author of Sengoku Rappaden Sasori and Kain. It began serialization in the September 22, 2008 issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump and ended after only 19 chapters in the February 9th issue. The first chapter was posted online in Japanese, English, French, and German on Jumpland.com, a website used by Jump to promote new manga series.
In the Middle Ages, when the practice of medicine was still in a primitive state, medicine was based upon a supposed balance of the four humours: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. Doctors blamed sickness on an imbalance of these substances, not realizing the true internal causes. Many illnesses were treated with bloodletting, medicinal concoctions, and prayer. There emerged a group of new doctors, Asklepios, who treated their patients through more modern practices such as surgery and removing diseased organs from the body. These practices, however, were not allowed by the church, and the Asklepios were deemed heretics and titled "slashing demons." Buzz Medil, the last Asklepios alive, embarks on a journey to help as many people in need of his services.
Asklepios takes place in Medieval Europe and mostly in Italy during the Roman Empire due to the focus of the Roman Catholic church at The Vatican and its power over the government. One village mentioned in the story is Lignum which, translated from Latin, means "wood." Another city, Vigo, may be based on the Galician city in Spain that was once a Roman settlement.
Asklepios began as a one-shot written and drawn by mangaka Tōru Uchimizu in Weekly Shōnen Jump in 2007. It resembled very closely what eventually became the serialized manga. Some of the changes made were the main character's confidence in his work, Rosary's hairstyle, Buzz's God's Eye was given less importance, and the mask he wore was taken out.
Many of the characters in Asklepios, especially the members of the church, are named after real people. All of the saint knights, bishops, and even the Pope are named after historical figures during the Roman Empire.
The characters in Asklepios are either sided with Buzz or share the church's view that the Asklepios is a killer. The church authorities want the Asklepios captured and killed for being a "ripper" and for going against the will of God. A large majority of the people that Buzz encounters fear the Asklepios because of this, but often change their idea of him when he proves that he truly is a doctor. Fellow doctors, Laura Roman and the Pope's personal doctor, Nero, have both been changed after seeing Buzz save people's lives with procedures that they never thought possible.
- Buzz Medil Asklepios (バズ・メディル・アスクレピオス Bazu Mediru Asukurepiosu?)
- The main character of Asklepios is a meek, lavender-haired boy who learned the practices of medicine from his father, Thug Medil. Growing up watching his father, Buzz has memorized all of his father's surgeries and even remembers the date on which they were performed. Buzz is a wanted fugitive for being a heretic to the church, but he continues to travel and treat the sick with his modern methods.
- Rosary Telesfos (ロザリィ・テレスフォス Rozarī Teresufosu?)
- A young girl who travels alongside Buzz as his assistant and bodyguard and is quite adept at swordplay and self-defense. Following the death of her father, Dominic, she is the head of the Telesfos family, who have been serving the Asklepios for upwards of one-thousand years. She bears great enmity toward Caligula for capturing her master and killing Paré, and relishes the opportunity to avenge them.
- Postale (ポスターレ Posutāre?)
- A masked man referred to as the "sponsor of the Asklepios." He travels ahead of Buzz and Rosary to let sick and injured people know that the Asklepios is coming to heal them. Postale has been working with the Medil and Telesfos families for many years. He is extremely agile, and manages to appear seemingly from nowhere.
- Paré (パレ Pare?)
- A young man training to become a surgeon, though he had a very inaccurate idea of what surgeons actually do. He makes Buzz's acquaintance when he saves the young surgeon from being run over by a wagon. When he discovers Buzz's identity, he becomes distrustful, threatening to turn them over to the church. But after a freak accident nearly severs his right arm, Buzz surgically reattaches it and earns the man's trust. He had traveled with Buzz and Rosary in order to learn some of Buzz's ways. This was until a pair of crossbow bolts fired by Caligula pierced his carotid artery and pericardium. Buzz and Rosary were unable to save him as they watched Pare bleed to death after he pulled the bolts out of his neck and chest.
- Laura Roman (ローラ・ローマン Rōra Rōman?)
- A young, female doctor, Laura Roman is an educated and skilled practitioner of the currently accepted medical arts. At first she only trusts the scholastically endorsed medical procedures she learned while studying, and is very distrustful of any medical process she is unfamiliar with. This changes when Buzz surgically saves a boy under her care with heretofore unheard of emergency medical practices. She then begins to support him and his new age of medicine.
- Quasimodo (カジモド Kajimodo?)
- A man living at the San Desau pass who is feared as a robber, murderer and cannibal who wears a horrifying mask. In reality, Quasimodo turns out to be a caring man who hides his face due to an accident when he was younger. His nose was apparently cut off during his time as a mercenary. After being saved by Quasimodo, Buzz makes it his job to restore Quasimodo's nose so he can return to his village without the shame of his deformed face. In thanks for Buzz' efforts, Quasimodo offers his home as a safe-house whenever Buzz should need it. Quasimodo is named after the character of the same name from the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.
- Pope Julianus (教皇のユリアヌス Kyōkō no Yurianusu?)
- The current leader of the church who resides at the Vatican. When Buzz turns himself in, Julianus arranges for Buzz (per his request) to perform surgery on three patients in front the cardinals at the Vatican assembly hall. If Buzz cannot heal any of the patients it is agreed upon that he will return the Biblos to the church. The first victim is a heretic who is shot many times in front of everyone, the second is a burn victim child, and the third turns out to be Buzz himself who is stabbed in the chest. Julianus is named after the Roman Emperor Didius Julianus.
- Bishop Vitellius (ヴィテリウス司教 Viteriusu Shikyō?)
- Bishop Vitellius is a young man with long hair who is much more serious about getting the Biblos back from the Asklepios. Pope Julianus himself states that Vitellius is mostly likely to become the next pope. Vitellius disapproves of Julianus' "game" involving Buzz, so he sends Caligula out to find and kill Rosary in order to get the Biblos back from her. The name Vitellius comes from the Roman emperor Aulus Vitellius Germanicus.
- Nero (ネロ Nero?)
- Nero is the head doctor for the church. During Julianus' game, the second patient turns out to be Nero's one year-old son who has suffered sever burns on a large part of his body from a house fire. After Buzz conducts a skin graft on the boy using his own skin, Nero, who at first rejected the possibility that his son could survive, was very grateful to the Asklepios. Nero is named after the Roman emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus.
- Caligula (カリギュラ Karigyura?)
- A man with cat-like eyes working for the church as a Saint Knight, sent with his platoon to find the Asklepios. It is revealed that, one year ago, Caligula captured Thug Medil and had him burned at the stake. A cold-hearted and cruel man, he despises 'heretics', and makes it his mission to hunt down those heretics his church targets. His small, calm smile rarely leaves his face, even as he shatters the thigh of a woman while trying to get information from her. Caligula is named after the Roman Emperor Caligula who is now infamous for being cruel and insane.
- Corbulo (コルブロ Koruburo?)
- Corbulo is a Saint Knight who serves as the personal bodyguard to Pope Julianus. He is known to many as the god of death (死神 Shinigami?) and it is said that, armed with a sword, he alone is as strong as an entire troop with guns. Corbulo has cold eyes and tribal tattoos on the left side of his face and arms. It appears that many of the cardinals fear him. As an order by Julianus, Corbulo stabs Buzz in the chest, making him his own patient. The name Corbulo comes from the Roman general and consul Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo who served under Emperor Caligula.
- Asklepios (医神（アスクレピオス） asukurepiosu?, Japanese for "medicine god") - A family of "heretic" doctors. Named after Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine.
- God's Eye (神の目 kami no me?) - Buzz's left hand which is able to examine the human body better than any human eye. By passing it over a sick patient, the God's Eye will allow him to diagnose a patient and determine a cure.
- Biblos (血命録（ビブロス） biburosu?, literally "blood life record") - A "secret treasure" of the Medil family, the Biblos is a book passed down from Asklepios to Asklepios that holds the blood signatures of all their patients. It is said that, when the book is filled, "something" will happen, but neither Buzz nor Rosary know what that is. It is later revealed that the Biblos was given to the Medil family by Pope Galba IV in recognizing that they are true doctors. Now, 50 years later, Pope Julianus will do anything to get the Biblos back before it is filled with blood signatures, granting the Asklepios power over the church.
- God's Mist (神の霧 kami no kiri?) - A substance that Buzz uses to put people to sleep. It is most likely what would now be called chloroform or some similar sleep-inducing agent.
Written and drawn by Tōru Uchimizu, the chapters of the Asklepios manga series have been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump by Shueisha. The individual chapters are published in tankōbon by Shueisha. The first volume will be released on February 4th, 2009.
- 000. One-Shot Chapter, 2007, Issue 19
- 001. "The Slashing Demon" (切り裂き魔 Kirisakima?), September 22, 2008, Issue 43
- 002. "To Learn the Master's Worth" (当主の自覚 Tōshu no Jikaku?), September 29, 2008, Issue 44
- 003. "A Woman's Value" (女の価値 Onna no Kachi?),October 6, 2008, Issue 45
- 004. "The Masked Man" (仮面の男 Kamen no Otoko?),October 13, 2008, Issue 46
- 005. "I Want to Try" (試したイ Tameshitai?), October 20, 2008, Issue 47
- 006. "The Best Treatment" (最良の治療 Sairyō no Chiryō?),October 27, 2008, Issue 48
- 007. "I'm Scared" (怖いんです Kowain Desu?), November 3, 2008, Issue 49
- 008. "To Make Bone" (骨を創る Hone o Tsukuru?), November 10, 2008, Issue 50
- 009. "Ally of a Heretic" (異端者のミカタ Itansha no Mikata?), November 17, 2008, Issue 51
- 010. "Thanks" (ありがとな Arigatona?), November 24, 2008, Issue 52
- 011. "I'm Sorry, Goodbye" (ごめんなさい サヨナラ Gomennasai Sayonara?), December 1, 2008, Issue 1
- 012. "The Plan" (策 Saku?), December 8, 2008, Issue 2
- 013. "Speed" (スピード Supīdo?), December 15, 2008, Issue 3
- 014. "Second Patient" (第二の患者 Daini no Kanja?), December 22, 2008, Issue 4/5
- 015. "Ligature" (結紮 Kessatsu?), January 5, 2009, Issue 6/7
- 016. "Don't Make Light of Me!!!" (ナメんじゃねーっス!!! Namen Ja Neessu!!!?), January 19, 2009, Issue 8
- 017. "Crime and Punishment" (罪と罰 Tsumi to Batsu?), January 26, 2009, Issue 9
- 018. "Unvanishing Memories" (消えない記憶 Kienai Kioku?), February ２, 2009, Issue 10
- 019. "All A Lie" (大きなウソ Ookina Uso?), February 9, 2009, Issue 11